Evangelical Churches Join Catholics in Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage in Scotland

Pastors from over 70 evangelical churches in Scotland have signed a letter to First Minister Alex Salmond Friday calling for him to protect the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In doing so, the church leaders have joined their Roman Catholic counterparts, who have been protesting the government's tinkering with the social institution of marriage since September.

The U.K. government has been holding 14-week consultations since September, surveying opinions on whether civil or church unions between people of the same gender should be allowed, according to British media. Officials have declared they will listen to all main arguments, including those of churches and faith groups.

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland announced in September that it does not support a government that backs same-sex marriage, with church officials describing such unions as "shameful" and as "cultural vandalism."

The 70 churches that signed the petition claim more than 20,000 parishioners, and decided to let the lawmakers know that these numbers give them a voice.

"Government did not invent marriage, and it is astonishing that it is seeking to legally redefine it at the behest of a small minority," the letter reads. "We are concerned about the implications if marriage is redefined. It stands to reason a redefinition will be promoted as standard by public bodies. This has significant implications across society, not least for what children will be taught in schools."

The address also claims that marriage between a man and a woman is not only the cornerstone of Scottish society, but that it is "natural."

"The opposite sexes of men and women are integral to its [marriage's] character and to its success," the evangelical ministers said. "Children do best when they are raised by the mother and father who conceived them. Numerous independent studies show this to be true. Of course there will be exceptions, however, in redefining marriage people are being told that a child does not need a mother and a father."

The ministers went on to suggest that the redefinition of such a core concept as marriage might lead to the questioning of other values, and even potential proposals of legalizing polygamy.

"If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it happening again? Canada has legalized same-sex marriage, and now there is a legal case in a Canadian court trying to legalize polygamy," the Rev Jim Turrent, Lead Pastor of Central Baptist Church in Dundee, told The Scotland Herald. "Mexico City legalised same-sex marriage two years ago, now the city is proposing temporary marriages that only last two years. Once you start to unpick marriage, the whole fabric can unravel."

At this point civil partnerships between people of the same sex are legal in the United Kingdom.

It also emerged recently that up to 150 conservative and evangelical ministers threatened to leave the Church of Scotland if it goes ahead with allowing the ordination of openly gay ministers.

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